Yesterday I told you about the messy pre-testing program for people going to Hawai’i. I’ll have a full trip report in the future, but I also wanted to carve out a separate special Wednesday post about what it’s like to be on O’ahu with everything shut down. What better way to nurse your post-election hangover regardless of how your candidates did?
[Disclosure: Hawaiian provided free transportation and COVID testing for me and my wife]
In short, it was incredibly strange. Many of the biggest hotels were closed. In fact, not a single true beachfront hotel in Waikiki was open… Hilton Hawaiian Village, Halekulani, Sheraton Waikiki, Royal Hawaiian, Moana Surfrider… all were shut down. Some have already re-opened since November 1 while others will stay closed for longer, like the Halekulani which is doing a big renovation until next summer.
While the lack of people was odd in general, possibly the strangest thing of all was the complete absence of Japanese travelers. If you’ve ever been to Waikiki, you know just how popular it is among Japanese tourists. Not having them there felt like a key part of the experience was missing.
Follow along below to see what we experienced during our time there.
What we saw in October was really a rare moment in time that doesn’t exist anymore in the same form. Many more hotels have opened, and tourists will start returning at a faster rate. But there’s little question that it will be a long time before O’ahu is back to normal. I’m glad I got to experience this, but I hope I’ll never have to see it this way again.
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